Nursery business changes fortunes of Shikarpara villagers

BSS, Rangpur :

Around 100 families have changed fortunes by producing saplings of plants commercially in Paschim Kursha Shikarpara village of Alampur union in Taraganj upazila of Rangpur.
The village is now popularly known as a ‘Nursery Village’ or ‘Chara Gram’ from where produced saplings are being supplied to different parts of the country besides local markets.
Anyone who goes to the village will be greeted by the cool breeze as saplings of domestic and foreign species of flower, fruit, wood and medicinal plants are growing all-around.
Most of the families spend their days caring for growing saplings in their nurseries on over 100 acres of land. About 120 families live in the village where eighty percent of them are involved in nursery business.
 Talking to BSS, pioneer of nursery business in Paschim Kursha Shikarpara village Habibar Rahman, 36, said he has changed fortune through nursery business after struggling with extreme poverty.
Anyone can see a spectacular display of growing saplings of fruit, flower, wood and medicinal plants in his colorful nursery on 1.20 acres of land.
“My father Alep Uddin died 27 years ago when I was only nine. I was then going through hard days with my widow mother, two brothers and a sister,” said Habibar.
He tried to work for his poverty-stricken family.
“One day, I came to Taraganj Bazar and got a job as a boy in a hotel at Taka 20 with two meals per day,” Habibar said.
But, he could not stay there for long as the hotel owner used to rebuke him frequently.
Habibar left Taraganj for Bogura in search of work. He first started to harvest potatoes in crop fields. He got acquainted with a nursery owner there.
After working in that nursery for sometime, he came home with little money.
But extreme poverty forced him to move to Bogra again and work in that nursery.
He met the owner of another nursery in Cumilla there and went to Cumilla with him.
After working in that nursery in Cumilla, Habibar came home and started a nursery business in his homestead some 22 years ago.
He started to earn from the nursery business and took 30 decimals of land on lease with a one-year contract for Tk 20,000 and started producing saplings. “I did not have to look back anymore. I am working with a target of producing 30,000 saplings of local and foreign varieties of plants this season,” Habibar said.
“Currently, I earn about Tk 1.50 lakh excluding fertilizer, seeds and irrigation, maintenance and transportation costs annually from my nursery on 1.20 acres of land,” he said.
He produces saplings of jackfruit, date, olive, guava, ‘Chalta’, litchi, orange, apple, plum, berry, coconut, ‘Jamrul’, ‘Golapjam’, mango, ‘Amra’, lemon, grape and other fruits in his nursery.
Among the forest plants, he produces saplings of mahogany, ‘Segun’, ‘Shilkarai’, rain tree, ‘Shishu’, ‘Rajkarai’ and ‘Kadam’ and other wood trees.
He produces saplings of medicinal plants like ‘Neem’, ‘Horitaki’, ‘Amalki’, ‘Arjun’, ‘Shimul’, ‘Shatamul’, aloe vera, ‘Sankhamul’, ‘Basok’, ‘Tulshi’, ‘Pudina’ and other varieties.
“I am producing saplings of more than 150 species of plants,” Habibar added.
Inspired by the success of Habibar, about 100 families of the village are now involved in the nursery business.
 Nursery owners Afzal Hossain, Mahabul Islam, Awal Ali, Dulal Rahman, Moshiar Rahman, Malekul Rahman and Azizar Rahman said nursery business has become a profitable venture to change their fortunes in the village.
Talking to BSS, Taraganj Upazila Agriculture Officer Urmi Tabassum said Paschim Kursha Shikarpara village has worn a greenish look with growing saplings all-around bringing fortunes for local villagers.